Relief as continued funding secured for music hubs

Music education hubs are informed that they will receive funding for 2020-21 after months of uncertainty

Amy Gibbons

Music hubs for schools will continue to receive government funding, it has been confirmed

The government has announced it will continue to fund music hubs for another year, putting an end to an "extremely stressful delay" for thousands of teachers.

The news will come as a relief to many working in the sector, especially peripatetic teachers, whose jobs were said to be "at risk" should continued funding not be secured by the spring.

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The current funding settlement for the hubs was due to run out on 31 March 2020. Until now, no future investment had been confirmed.

Music hubs for schools

Bridget Whyte, chief executive officer of music association Music Mark, said some hubs had been preparing to consult on redundancy processes as a result of continued uncertainty.

She said: “The delay in getting news of continued funding has been extremely stressful for the organisations who lead and are part of music education hubs across the country.

"There have been some who were in the process of preparing redundancy consultation processes”.

Music Mark said it was "delighted" by today's announcement, which comes as the government prepares to go into the period of purdah in the lead-up to the general election.  

It added that, on hearing the news, one music education hub lead organisation said: "This is such a relief! My deadline was today for sending a paper to the board for redundancy proposals."

The funding announcement confirms an "in-year uplift" of £265,000 for 2019-20, and an allocation of just under £79 million for 2020-21. Exactly how much each music education hub will receive will be based on pupil numbers in each local authority area, and confirmed by Arts Council England.

Prior to the announcement, Ms Whyte spoke to Tes about her fears for the hubs after raising the issues at an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) meeting on music education.

Asked when the hubs would realistically need confirmation of future funding, she said: "We needed to know yesterday, last week, last year."

Music education hubs are groups of organisations working together across local authority areas. They often involve schools and community groups, and seek to augment and support music education.

The network was introduced in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education, and has since amassed 121 hubs. The government announced in January 2019 that it would refresh the document, with a new version to be published in 2020.

But Hannah Fouracre, music education director at Arts Council England, said last month that there is currently "no draft of anything".

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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